Challenge accepted, Mitt Romney.
Oh, Mitt Romney. This is an absolute disaster for you. Let me count the ways.
After unleashing a torrent of leaked videos from a private, $50,000-per-plate (yes, that is the cost of a house!) dinner with donors from four months ago in Boca Raton, Mitt Romney repeatedly asked Mother Jones to release the full video so all the quotes could appear in context. They did. In two parts.
NOTE:The source told MJ the recording device was inadvertently turned off between these two segments. The source noticed quickly and began to re-record, resulting in an estimated a one-to-two minute loss of tape.
- A big part of Romney's defense against these video leaks has been to imply that he may have been quoted out of context. This proves he was not misrepresented.
- The first four minutes spell disaster. Someone jokingly urges him to "pull an Elizabeth Warren" when he says he'd have an easier election if he were Mexican. So he slams Warren in front of a room full of strangers, even though it has nothing to do with his campaign. "For those of you who don't know Elizabeth Warren," he begins, telling them only that a candidate running for the Massachusetts Senate who said she's Cherokee, always marks Cherokee, is a member of the Harvard minority faculty members... "It turns out that -- at most -- she's 1/32nd (inaudible) Cherokee, and even that can't be proven." It's really just mean, if not offensive.
- Speaking of mean:
"Can you imagine working every day, taking a couple of jobs and saving so that your brother could go to college? I would never do that for my brother." - Mitt Romney
- He just extra lost the Hispanic vote.
"Gosh, I'd like to bring in more legal immigrants. Immigrants that have skills and knowledge. I'd like to staple a green card to every PhD in the world and say, 'Come to America. We want you here.' Instead, we make it hard for people who are educated here or elsewhere to to make this their home. Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience -- in which case you are welcome to cross the border and stay here the rest of your life." - Mitt Romney
- He referred to Social Security and Medicare as "liabilities," which I'm sure will go over well with those receiving that government assistance and are already concerned that he would gut those programs.
- If we shrink the size of the military at all, or "go the way of Europe" and only allocate one to two percent of the budget on defense, "we will not be able to have freedom in the world," you say? Pretty sure citizens in those European countries are still enjoying freedom. Your logic is unsound.
- Even if you are talking about The View, you should maybe learn to take a compliment and not bash someone who made a supportive statement toward you. Especially not with flippant condescension.
"She said, 'You know what? I think I could vote for you.' And I thought, 'I must have done something really wrong.'" - Mitt Romney
On top of everything that's already gone down, what with the whole deriding 47 percent of the population -- largely comprised of military members, students and the elderly -- as lazy leeches while failing to recognize that he was simultaneously bashing a bloc of voters that has, historically, voted Republican... this is really just staggeringly bad for the struggling Romney campaign. The New York Times is reporting Obama has a 51 to 45 lead in Wisconsin. Yeah. In the state that elected Scott Walker twice. Oh, and remember that running mate choice? Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin too, and yet.
To make matters worse for Romney, his campaign's go-to retort to any gaffe has always been that Obama has messed up the economy and Mr. 'Merican Businessman can sweep into the office and balance the books. Not so, according to a Business Insider analysis of Romney's plan, which concluded it would balloon both the national debt and deficit much quicker than current law would if left unaltered. They ran two scenarios: Best-Case and Likely -- both with some serious benefit of the doubt, but they quit before even trying a worst-case scenario because it was "too depressing."
All of this comes as Romney is seriously sagging in the polls and is desperately trying to get a do-over on his campaign by rebranding with a new "tougher talk on specifics" strategy while combating reports of campaign infighting. Before the RNC, Romney's campaign said they really needed to boost his likeability, but he's one of the least popular candidates in recent memory. The Washington Post recently found that only 40 percent of Americans think Romney is likeable, and these videos really don't do much to boost that number at all because frankly, dude was straight up mean at times. And he laughed at it. Parents tell their children not to do this sort of thing to others, and yet this man thinks it's behavior becoming of a presidential candidate behind closed doors? The unleashing of this full video containing the unaltered, brash and divisive tone really does not bode well for his chances in this area.
All that aside, the fact that Romney has clearly been talking one way to donors and another way to the general public is extremely problematic for his campaign, which has been very light on specifics and nowhere near candid. Even worse, I think this kind of dialogue is alienating and will not help him appear in-touch with America or help people connect to him or his message.
The fanciness of this dinner is really staggering too. Personally, it's really hard to relate as someone who has never known a millionaire, let alone people who can afford to shell out 50,000 per plate (one plate is worth a college education!) to spend a couple of minutes with a candidate they like. In clips, it wasn't that pronounced, but watching the super-gourmet waitstaff buzz around these people while wearing white satin gloves over the course of an hour is really surreal. Also, the tinkling and clanking of silverware is crazy annoying.
In the end, I really can't believe Mitt Romney wanted this to be released. Or maybe Clint Eastwood was right to call him "dumb." Whatever the case may be, I think the moral of this story is: Be careful what you wish for.